TERMITES ALONE CAUSE MORE PROPERTY DAMAGE ANNUALLY THAN FIRES, FLOODS, OR EARTHQUAKES COMBINED
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A wood destroying organism (WDO) inspection is a written report on a home or property with visible and accessible evidence of an infestation or damage by wood destroying organisms. Usually this means subterranean or dry wood termites, but will also cover wood destroying beetles and wood destroying fungi.
There are many steps you can take towards preventing infestation if you know what termites are looking for. Termites are ground insects that look for habitats that provide food, moisture, and shelter close to the ground: any moist place where wood meets ground. Correcting this situation may require regrading to separate soil from any wood. Since mulch and many other landscaping materials cause the soil to remain moist, you should make sure to minimize mulching around your foundation. Some experts recommend mulching no closer than a foot from your home’s foundation. You should also stack any wood away from your home be sure to eliminate any moisture problems in and around your home, especially in crawlspaces.
A wood destroying organism report will include the following:
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Wood Destroying Organism Inspections
Termites, carpenter ants, beetles, bees, and fungi are wood-destroying organisms, which can do massive damage to a home and greatly lessen its value. A wood destroying organism (WDO) inspection is a written report on a home or property with visible and accessible evidence of an infestation or damage by wood destroying organisms.
“Wood-destroying organism” means arthropod or plant life which damages and can infest seasoned wood in a structure, namely termites, powder-post beetles, old house borers, and wood-decaying fungi.
Copyright © 1995-2017 The Florida Legislature
Choosing a Licensed Wood-Destroying Organism (WDO) Inspector1
Faith M. Oi, Paul Mitola, Kathleen Ruppert, Michael Page and Mark Ruff2
What is a wood-destroying organism inspection?
A wood-destroying organism (WDO) inspection is a visual inspection performed by a licensed pest control inspector who is trained to identify damage, evidence, and live wood-destroying organisms.
It is important to understand that a WDO inspection will only identify problems in the home if they are “visible and accessible” to the inspector at the time of the inspection. A 13645 report “does not cover areas such as, but not limited to, those that are enclosed or inaccessible, areas concealed by wall-coverings, floor coverings, furniture, equipment, stored articles, insulation or any portion of the structure in which inspection would necessitate removing or defacing any part of the structure.” Individuals performing WDO inspections should access crawl spaces and attics if the entrance is not blocked or too small for the inspector to gain entrance. Typically, a WDO inspection will not come with any guaranty or warranty.
What is a wood-destroying organism?
Wood-destroying organisms that are reportable on Florida Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services form 13645 include:
Who can request a WDO inspection?
Anyone can request a WDO inspection. However, this service is typically requested by homeowners, real estate professionals, and lending institutions in support of a real estate transaction. When an inspection is requested for such a purpose, the FDACS Form 13645 must be provided to the requestor. This kind of inspection should not be confused with an annual inspection performed to maintain a termite contract.
It is recommended that homeowners directly contact a licensed pest control company to request a WDO inspection because only the individual/company requesting the inspection may receive the inspection report. Homeowners should also be aware that home inspections and WDO inspections may be bundled as a convenience. If your WDO inspection is purchased through a home inspection company, it is important that 1) you request a copy of the WDO inspection; and 2) the person performing the inspection carries an identification card with the WDO endorsement issued by FDACS and is working for a company in good standing with FDACS.
Distinguishing between a WDO inspection and a structural inspection
Two types of inspections homeowners typically request before a real estate closing include the WDO inspection and the structural home inspection. The difference between these inspection types may not be apparent; the WDO inspection is for termites and other WDOs (such as wood boring beetles and fungi), whereas the home inspection is for the structural condition of the home (including electrical, HVAC, plumbing, etc.). There are excellent home inspection companies in the state that provide detailed reports on the condition of the home, including notations of structural damage related to termites and other WDOs on forms other than FDACS Form 13645. However, home inspectors cannot legally perform WDO inspections unless they work for a licensed pest control company, have been properly trained to perform a WDO inspection using FDACS Form 13645 to report the inspection findings, and are issued a pest control identification card with the “Termites and Other Wood-Destroying Organisms” endorsement. The fact that some home inspectors have pest-control affiliations and can legally complete FDACS Form 13645 causes occasional confusion over the differences between a home inspection and a WDO inspection.
Beginning July 1, 2011, the home inspection industry became regulated by the Florida Department of Business and Professional Regulation (DBPR) as stated in section 468.83, Florida Statutes. Inspections for WDOs in relation to FDACS Form 13645 remain under the regulatory authority of the FDACS (see Chapter 482, Florida Statutes). Table 1 provides the reader a clarifying summary of the inspection differences.
How to determine whether a termite inspector is certified
A licensed pest control company should have a certified operator in the category of “termites and other wood-destroying organisms” or an employee trained by a certified operator with a valid ID card containing the endorsement “WDO inspector.” A “certified operator” is defined by Florida Statute as “an individual holding a current pest control operator’s certificate issued by the department” (FS 482.021). Employees also are known as technicians or “ID cardholders.” An “ID cardholder” or certified operator should be able to produce his or her ID card, issued by FDACS, upon request.